When Executive Chef Scott Kampf of Southampton Social Club hears the term “local,” it immediately conjures an appreciation for the bounty of the ocean and bays and farms that surround us here on the East End. “The ocean, the bay, farms—everything is within our grasp,” he says with genuine enthusiasm—an emotion that also comes out when he’s talking about coming to Dan’s Taste of Two Forks during Dan’s Taste of Summer weekend. “We can get everything local, which is very rare and wonderful.”
What does “taste of summer” mean to you?
Our local heirloom tomatoes, our summer corn, at the beginning of summer our berry season, the strawberries—all the summer tastes that come with being on the East End of Long Island.
What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
I like how people are excited about the event and that there are opportunities for people to sample the food that we feature here. So each year we’ve put out some of the hardest dishes, the most complicate to build and put out—this year we are going to bring our jumbo lump crab cake with a Dijon aioli—and we want people to say hey, Social Club is not only a club but also a great restaurant.
Discuss your favorite culinary experience since last year’s Taste of Two Forks.
My favorite culinary experience in the last year has been the insurgence of new restaurants coming to the Hamptons. Especially in Southampton, like the selling of Barrister’s and the new French restaurant coming—it brings new life into our village, which has been stagnant for a very long time. At 10 o’clock, this village shuts down, and I’m hoping the restaurants bring back things being open later. That would be a very positive experience. We’re the older part of the Hamptons, but there’s some new blood here and we should cater to that.
Where do you find inspiration, inside and outside the kitchen?
Inspiration comes in many forms. I might see something on TV show or read it in a magazine, and I might not like the idea that they’re presenting, but I might like an item in that idea and create something around it. Like here, we’ve been playing with an egg roll for a while, and we came up with the Southampton Social Club Duck Spring Roll, and that just came about by our saying hey, lets do an egg roll, and just playing with it, and that evolved into duck and then hey, we got it. Or our lobster taco—and I’ll give [partner] Ian Duke all the credit on that one, with my hesitance about doing it, for the time reason in the kitchen. Parts of it are cold and parts of it are hot, so the timing of everything has to be right on.
If you were packing for an East End picnic, what are three things we’d find in your basket?
Our local fresh tomatoes, a summer corn salad from our corn, and a nice piece of cheese from Mecox Dairy.
What’s your favorite food-and-drink-related song?
When I listen to my favorite band in the kitchen, which is a band from Hawaii called Pepper, it motivates us. It’s kind of a reggae-beach-ska band, and it’s uplifting and gets us through the heavy times. It’s beautiful.
What are some of the biggest and best changes you’ve seen in the local dining scene in recent years?
What I’ve seen is that the owners of our establishments are letting the chefs do their jobs. The fact that they’re letting the chefs be more creative and bring more freshness out and less prepared foods is a really good way to go.
Finish this sentence: An empty plate… makes me very happy and is a wonderful sight to see.
Dan’s Taste of Summer—held at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton—kicks off with GrillHampton on Friday, July 11, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. General admission tickets are $120 (inclusive of all food and beverages). Dan’s Taste of Two Forks is Saturday, July 12. Taste of Two Forks VIP tickets are sold out, but General Admission (GA) tickets from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. are available for $160 (inclusive of all food & beverage).
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.